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Elgar, Bavuma lead South Africa fightback but England favourites on final day

Ben Stokes celebrating the wicket of Faf du Plessis on day four
Ben Stokes celebrating the wicket of Faf du Plessis on day four

England 353 & 313-8 dec (Bairstow 63) v
South Africa 175 & 117-4 (Elgar 72no)
Third Test, Kennington Oval, day four

After South Africa were set a target of 492 runs in the final innings, England struck early to reduce Proteas to 117 runs for four wickets at stumps on day four of the third Test at Kennington Oval.

England started the day with a score of 74 for one, having a lead of 252 runs. Keaton Jennings (48) struck a couple of boundaries in the 25th over but was caught in the gully in the next over bowled by Kagiso Rabada (1-56).

The runs slowed down considerably as Joe Root (50) and Tom Westley (59) added 31 runs in the next 13 overs. The England captain scored a couple of boundaries in the 40th over to gain some momentum.

Just at the stroke of lunch, Westley completed his maiden Test half-century and England ended the session at 153 for two.

During the lunch break, there was a brief spell of rain but it did not hamper the play as the second session started on time.

Just as the duo were looking to accelerate, Keshav Maharaj (3-50) struck twice in two overs to remove both Westley and Root, but it came after the England captain reached his half-century.

As the lead was nearing the 400-run mark, Dawid Malan (10) was trapped LBW by Chris Morris (2-70) with South Africa using a review to overturn the original decision.

Quick knocks from Jonny Bairstow (63), Ben Stokes (31) and Toby Roland-Jones (23 not out) to take the score to 313 for eight before the declaration came. Maharaj was the pick of the South African bowlers with a three wicket haul.

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Chasing an improbable target of 492 to win, Heino Kuhn (11) started the innings positively with two boundaries in the first four overs while Dean Elgar (72 not out) was dropped by Jennings in the slips in fifth over.

England did manage to get the initial breakthrough when Stuart Broad (1-27) castled Kuhn in the sixth over following which Elgar and Hashim Amla (5) batted over nine overs before the latter was snared for the second time in the game by Roland-Jones (1-20).

South Africa's innings took further beating after the 17th over which saw Stokes (2-29) remove both Quinton de Kock (5) and Faf du Plessis (0) off successive deliveries.

Just as it looked like another collapse was on the cards, Temba Bavuma (16 not out) and Elgar added unbeaten 65 runs for the fifth wicket with the latter being the aggressor among the two to give some respite to the Proteas, who are left with a daunting task of needing 375 more runs to win on the final day with six wickets in hand.

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